We could maybe let up a little. June 13, 2011 3:44 PM   Subscribe

I want to suggest that maybe it's a good idea to give abused people, instead of their abusers, the benefit of the doubt.

Telling someone who's describing abusive behavior that they need to "consider this a "valuable lesson" about making choices or that "part of not being a child is not acting like one" or that "even a pretty mellow parent might've lost it a bit" all give the abuser the benefit of the doubt.

And abusers almost always get it.

Look, maybe y'all are right, but I, for one, wouldn't want to run the risk of telling someone who has been abused that things are not as they think they are. And as someone who has confided my abuse on Metafilter, I would have been really crushed to hear that I wasn't believed, particularly because of my youth.

I believe there are ways to get at answers--which are all some variation of "find a way to take control"--that neither mention abuse nor contribute to gaslighting the original poster. Please consider giving some thought and care to them.
posted by liketitanic to Etiquette/Policy at 3:44 PM (214 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

that neither mention abuse nor contribute to gaslighting the original poster.

And I say that specifically because, look, if you don't see abuse, you don't have to force yourself to be an enlightened witness. But you also don't have to either acknowledge it or deny that it might be there.
posted by liketitanic at 3:49 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


You made the same point perfectly eloquently in the thread. I think people providing different types of answers is a feature, not a bug.

None of us know exactly what the OP's home life is like, so every answerer runs their answer through their own biases. Maybe OP was being a brat and their mom took the keys to teach them a lesson. Maybe OP's mom is an abusive control freak. The OP got answers to cover both situations.
posted by auto-correct at 3:54 PM on June 13, 2011 [26 favorites]


I agree with auto-correct.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:55 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the people who favorited those comments pretty much suck.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:55 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So while you are right, the poster is hardly what one would call objective in relating the facts of the matter to us. Many teenagers and even some young adults would describe their parents as abusive when they are simply not spoiling their children or bending to their every whim.

So I would say the issue at hand is less giving the abuser the benefit of the doubt but having to figure out what to say given a completely one-sided description of events.

You are correct however in pointing out that this is possibly a really abusive situation where the OP should be counseled to leave and possibly even sever close ties with his family. But the question as stated is simply too short and too one-sided to give a conclusive answer to.
posted by GuyZero at 3:56 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


auto-correct: "Maybe OP was being a brat and their mom took the keys to teach them a lesson."

You don't take the keys to a car that belongs to someone else. What if it was a daughter taking the mom's keys?
posted by dunkadunc at 3:57 PM on June 13, 2011 [29 favorites]


I think there is too much that isn't known to call it one way or the other, so diverse answers are exactly the way to go. None of those is particularly condescending or insulting or out of bounds, whatever the deleted stuff is not withstanding. We don't know the OP's situation, don't personalize what ain't personal.
posted by absalom at 4:00 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the mom was drunk or had just uttered a death threat against someone, the daughter would be quite in the right to take her mom's keys.

Being grounded is a pretty typical disciplinary action for parents to take against their kids.

it's also something crazy people do to fuck with other people. Again, we're basically just making stuff up with regard to the actual situation at this point.
posted by GuyZero at 4:00 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Seconding auto-correct. I could see a lot of myself in that question (though my parents paid for most of my college and they always let me have food when I'm home) as someone who grew up with oftentimes-way-too-controlling-but-nowhere-near-abusive parents and as someone who tends toward bratty freeloaderness when home more often than I'd care to admit. There's no way to tell how reliable the OP is in her storytelling, and I think the answers so far in the thread cover all the bases just fine.
posted by phunniemee at 4:00 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


You made the same point perfectly eloquently in the thread. I think people providing different types of answers is a feature, not a bug.

I think so too, but I found some of the stuff that followed even more unkind and more dismissive, and responding further in the thread wouldn't have been appropriate. I don't think OP needs to be told that OP is a "brat."

But the question as stated is simply too short and too one-sided to give a conclusive answer to.

That's sort of why what I'd like to see advice that doesn't even dabble in the question (of abuse or the intensity of mistreatment). If it's not clear, then don't go there.

So. I've said what I wanted to say--what, more to the point, I felt needed to be said. I will probably step away in order to avoid upsetting myself with this stuff.
posted by liketitanic at 4:01 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's hard to be objective in cases like this, but I think the best answers thus far are the ones that simply spell out how to get new copies made of keys and offer an outline of steps to take to remove the OP from having to repeat the experience.

It's absolutely not our place to either slag on the OP or decide if a situation is abusive. We're just here to - hopefully - answer the question. In this case, that's "this is how to get new keys if the car's registration is in your name." Beyond that, we really shouldn't be jumping to any conclusions.
posted by sonika at 4:04 PM on June 13, 2011


I think calling this "abuse" is unnecessarily harsh language to paint the situation in a specific light. OP's mom took her car keys. Totally bitch move, and probably illegal, but abuse?
posted by 23skidoo at 4:04 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Despite my strongly worded answer in the thread, I am honestly of two minds about it. On the one hand, the question made me think not too fondly on my past. On the other hand, it's really a sign when friends and siblings are wanting to charge $15 for a ride. That made me think there was the possibility that the OP really has just been ticking people off and people don't want to help anymore. On the other hand, lots and lots of people on the losing end of a controlling and awful home life find that their abuser has managed to turn everyone against them. It's really impossible to know from the information given. In which case, the advice to be an adult and take charge of their own life is the least harmful. Whether the parent or the child is "at fault" the OP stepping up and being an adult will lead to a good end. It's hard to take charge of your life, particularly when a parent is doing everything they can to keep you under their thumb.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:06 PM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


You don't take the keys to a car that belongs to someone else.

You do when you're a mom who's forgotten that her child is technically an adult now. It happens all the time. I'm not saying absolutely that the OP's parents are NOT abusive, but you can't decide whether they are or aren't solely on the fact that the mom got mad at him/her for not helping out and effectively grounded him/her.

And, honestly, I'm not reading abuse in that question at all. I'm not reading anything other than that the OP has experienced the freedoms of college and is having a hard time adjusting back to playing by mom's rules while living under mom's roof. It's not necessary to call anyone a brat, but we really don't have the information to be saying, "Leave! Right now! Call the police! You need to escape this prison!"
posted by katillathehun at 4:07 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


This is what was said:
To say the least, home was never a great place growing up. My parents refused to allow me to have guests over, travel beyond the block, or go my other friends' houses.
Strict is not, by definition, abusive. Every single person who posts a reply is going to read those words through the prism of their own experience. I honestly don't see abuse; I see strict, possibly not great, parents who are making poor decisions about how to manage an adult child who is leaving the nest but still in it.

I understand the way other people see it but I just want to say: I didn't see it that way, and I'm still not convinced that's what's going on there. It would be helpful if the OP clarified.
posted by DarlingBri at 4:08 PM on June 13, 2011


Furthermore, I am no longer allowed to use anything in the house other than electricity and water (no food, nada...good thing have a little change saved and work on the internet).

Folks, the kid is using her spare change to buy food. This is not just the car keys. And the car keys thing was bad enough.
posted by angrycat at 4:08 PM on June 13, 2011 [41 favorites]


Yeah, that's abuse.
posted by dunkadunc at 4:08 PM on June 13, 2011


not being allowed to travel beyond the block is much more than strict.

don't see abuse? fine. don't call her names in the thread though. Jesus.
posted by angrycat at 4:09 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


In this case, that's "this is how to get new keys if the car's registration is in your name." Beyond that, we really shouldn't be jumping to any conclusions.

Really? My other beef, such as it is, is that this is really a borderline post with no actual question.

The only actual question in the post was: Any suggestions on how to manage this sticky situation, and how to get around town?

It's not real clear what the OP expects to hear other than to be assured they're in the right.
posted by GuyZero at 4:09 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


There's no reason to think "have a little change saved" is the same as "using spare change to eat." By your very own link, she has employment, which implies income.
posted by absalom at 4:11 PM on June 13, 2011


We have the story of the poster. Applying the term abuse is a bit serious. I don't find the comments to be unreasonable. This thread is a terrific example of why you should Flag It And Move On.

I love ask.me a lot, but you have to let it go sometimes. I hear Outdoors is nice.
posted by theora55 at 4:11 PM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Folks, the kid is using her spare change to buy food. This is not just the car keys.

Most people have to buy their own food. Granted, when you are hanging out at your parents, they usually let you have some of their food, but telling your kid "Hey, buy your own damn food" isn't the same thing as starving them.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:15 PM on June 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


That's sort of why what I'd like to see advice that doesn't even dabble in the question (of abuse or the intensity of mistreatment).

Respectfully, AskMe is not a safe space and this is unlikely to happen.

People see these questions through their own filters and what is one person's strict parenting is another persons abusive controlling situation. I deleted a comment that called the OP names that I thought were outside the range of what's useful for AskMe but beyond that, the OP is going to have to make their own decisions about how to deal with this situation and commenters bitching at each other for calling it abuse or, alternatively, not seeing the obvious abuse don't really help the OP with their problem.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:15 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love ask.me a lot, but you have to let it go sometimes. I hear Outdoors is nice.

Oh man, wait until Fall! Outdoors 2.0 will be in the cloud and you'll be able sync to all your outdoor hobbies to it!
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:15 PM on June 13, 2011 [35 favorites]


In Seattle their Outdoors has always been cloud-enabled.
posted by GuyZero at 4:17 PM on June 13, 2011 [29 favorites]


I think the best answers thus far are the ones that simply spell out how to get new copies made of keys and offer an outline of steps to take to remove the OP from having to repeat the experience.

Of course, if the car actually belongs legally to the parents, copying the key and stealing the car could go terribly wrong.

On the other hand, it's really a sign when friends and siblings are wanting to charge $15 for a ride.

The question was worded such that it is not clear that they have actually told the asker that they demand that. Moreover, if it costs $5 or less in gas money to travel where the asker needs to go, then it is clearly not so far that walking would take very long.

You don't take the keys to a car that belongs to someone else.

You do if the car's title, registration, and insurance are in your name and that someone else is just using it for three weeks while they're home from college. Based on the actual information given by the question's asker, it is entirely plausible that this is the case. We just don't know.

Folks, the kid is using her spare change to buy food.

"little change saved" looked to me like a metaphor, not, you know, a literal description of a little baggie full of coins. And it is not at all unusual for parents of college-aged kids to be annoyed by what they see as freeloading to the point where they charge rent for the summer or say that they won't buy food for the kid if the kid's not getting a job or something. Yeah, it's harsh, but are they really enforcing that? We don't know. Moreover, it is not at all inconceivable that a college-age person could employ some hyperbole in a description of what's going on with their parents. That's what it looks like to me, having witnessed similar situations firsthand. But again, we don't know anything other than what's stated in the question.

not being allowed to travel beyond the block is much more than strict.

That depends on how old the asker was when that rule was in place. We are only told that that was the rule at some point while "growing up." My kids aren't allowed to travel beyond the block, either, and it's not because I'm strict - it's because they're little kids. With no indication in the question as to what age that particular rule applied to, you're assuming facts not in evidence to support a conclusion you jumped to.
posted by The World Famous at 4:17 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


23skidoo: "Most people have to buy their own food. Granted, when you are hanging out at your parents, they usually let you have some of their food, but telling your kid "Hey, buy your own damn food" isn't the same thing as starving them."

True, but it's also a good way to make sure they don't push your wheelchair for you when you're older (or if they do, it's down the stairs.)
posted by dunkadunc at 4:19 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


True, but it's also a good way to make sure they don't push your wheelchair for you when you're older (or if they do, it's down the stairs.)

Yep, but just because telling your kid they can't eat your food is a stupid idea doesn't make it abuse.
posted by 23skidoo at 4:22 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Moreover, if it costs $5 or less in gas money to travel where the asker needs to go, then it is clearly not so far that walking would take very long.


Huh? 1.25 gallons of gas will get you roughly 27.5 miles, based on $4/gallon and 22 MPG. A marathon+ each day is not a trifle.
posted by endless_forms at 4:22 PM on June 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


Moreover, if it costs $5 or less in gas money to travel where the asker needs to go, then it is clearly not so far that walking would take very long.

I actually agree with most of your post but this makes no sense. $5 is a little over a gallon of gas right now most places. That should be 20-40 miles at least. Walking 30 miles is not reasonable.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:22 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"Could you take your sister to the mall?"
"Can't talk - re-runs."
"Pack your shit, get out of my house, and don't come back."
posted by obiwanwasabi at 4:22 PM on June 13 [+] [!]


Yeah, seriously...WTF is that about?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:26 PM on June 13, 2011


How many of you missed the part where the mom is forbidding the op to eat any of the food in the house as well?

Whether OP was a brat is beside the point. I wouldn't spend one more minute in that house. I would scrape up every dime I had and get out and stay out.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:27 PM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


Walking 30 miles is not reasonable.

Do you really think she has to walk 30 miles round trip to get to the library and back? That's roughly equivalent to walking from Glendale to Santa Monica and back.
posted by The World Famous at 4:28 PM on June 13, 2011


I'm with liketitanic on this one.

Part of my childhood abuse took the form of extreme groundings, like not being allowed to socialize with other kids for an entire year, or not being allowed into my own bedroom for months on end, or not being allowed to take driver's ed -- all because my abuser needed to keep my world as small as possible. When I read the OP's question, my first reaction was that (s)he was pretty clearly dealing with extremely controlling, apparently abusive, parents, who are using tactics I recognize and can identify pretty much immediately because it is the stuff I grew up with.

If the OP is a person trying to escape an abusive situation, I can't imagine that responses telling him or her to grow up will help, at all. We should be gentle on Ask, but particularly gentle in situations where abuse is a real possiblity.

Actually, I may disagree with liketitanic on one thing: I think everyone should be an enlightened witness.
posted by brina at 4:28 PM on June 13, 2011 [20 favorites]


The questions, invariably, are asked through a filter that is already (in most cases) sufficiently, if not overly, pro-OP. A bit of anti-OP bias in AskMe answers helps tremendously to keep the discussion grounded, I think.
posted by toomuchpete at 4:28 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Whether OP was a brat is beside the point. I wouldn't spend one more minute in that house. I would scrape up every dime I had and get out and stay out.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:27 PM on June 13 [+] [!]

And it's still not abuse.
posted by Space Coyote at 4:28 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think calling this "abuse" is unnecessarily harsh language to paint the situation in a specific light. OP's mom took her car keys. Totally bitch move, and probably illegal, but abuse?
posted by 23skidoo at 4:04 PM on June 13 [+] [!]


So its illegal...but not abuse. Huh?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:28 PM on June 13, 2011


It's not illegal to take the keys to your own car from the child who insists that it is theirs.
posted by The World Famous at 4:30 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I'm not your lawyer)
posted by The World Famous at 4:31 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think everyone should be an enlightened witness.

Serious question: What is an enlightened witness?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 4:31 PM on June 13, 2011


ABUSE noun (as defined by Webster)

1. A corrupt practice or custom

2. improper or excessive use or treatment


I think it qualifies.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:31 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you really think she has to walk 30 miles round trip to get to the library and back? That's roughly equivalent to walking from Glendale to Santa Monica and back.

In a small or rural community that's *entirely* possible. Most of my family lives places where this would be true. Us city folks are really blessed to have the option to walk places. For people living in rural communities, amenities we take for granted are typically at least 10 miles away and usually much further.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:31 PM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


It's not illegal to take the keys to your own car from the child who insists that it is theirs.

And you do realize that it was actually the "child's" keys, and not the parent's right?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:32 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's always possible that I read the wrong things into this but here is what I read:

1. The poster is an adult.
2. The poster pays for her college, room and board.
3. The poster has a car that belongs to her (was given to her as a gift by a cousin) - I am assuming that the papers are in her own name (??)

I also read that the family has:
a. taken her property away from her (car keys)
b. restricted her physical movements
c. restricted her in a demeaning way around the house (no food - and can only use water and electricity {wtf ! ??} )

I agree there is a whole lot of things we don't know and several assumptions that I am making :the car belongs to her , she is of legal age, she supports herself etc - none of which may be true. But the family does sound overly controlling and I think the issue of possible abuse that some people raised here is a valid one. Let me explain : I was given free tuition to an Ivy League school and a sports car. The only thing I had to do in return was to give up any sense of self identity and live my life in precisely the same way that my father wanted me to (no Black friends, no non-Jewish friends, become a Pharmacist, vote Republican). That deal lasted 19 months before I left home for good. My brother and sister took the deal and became controlling abusive people themselves. (there were far far worse and earlier issues - so don't diss me please)

Just because your parents are putting a roof over your head or giving you a car or helping with your college or all three doesn't mean that they can't be abusing you as well. Trust me they can. It is a valid point to raise.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 4:32 PM on June 13, 2011 [38 favorites]


Do you really think she has to walk 30 miles round trip to get to the library and back? That's roughly equivalent to walking from Glendale to Santa Monica and back.

Maybe not 30 miles. But my parent's house in suburban Georgia was 3 miles from the nearest non-residence (a gas station) and 10 miles from the nearest library. And that was in wealthy suburban Atlanta. Most of the country is pretty spread out and walking is unreasonable in any sense.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:32 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


And you do realize that it was actually the "child's" keys, and not the parent's right?

You do realize that you don't actually know what the title to the car in question says, right?
posted by toomuchpete at 4:33 PM on June 13, 2011


Yep, but just because telling your kid they can't eat your food is a stupid idea doesn't make it abuse.

Totally. That's what I was telling the judge when they were all talking about the dungeon in my basement with the extra large fridge.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:34 PM on June 13, 2011


You do realize that you don't actually know what the title to the car in question says, right?

The poster claims that it was given to her by a cousin. Why would you assume its not in her name?
posted by hal_c_on at 4:34 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Just because your parents are putting a roof over your head or giving you a car or helping with your college or all three doesn't mean that they can't be abusing you as well.

Yes, but just because those things they are voluntarily doing for you come with conditions attached does not make them abusive.
posted by kafziel at 4:34 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, we know she doesn't pay the insurance on it. So someone else's money is still keeping it street legal.
posted by absalom at 4:35 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why would you assume its not in her name?

If the car is in her name, what would prevent her from taking it out of state?

Not that I agree with one "side" or the other - just trying to point out that the post (not even a question) is highly interpretable.
posted by muddgirl at 4:36 PM on June 13, 2011


Yes, but just because those things they are voluntarily doing for you come with conditions attached does not make them abusive.

You don't understand because you have never been there. I would not wish that on you or anyone else.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 4:36 PM on June 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


Not just doesn't pay, but the insurance isn't even in her name. That strongly suggests the title isn't either - someone else pays my car insurance, but my name's on the title so my name's on the policy.
posted by kafziel at 4:37 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This post made me sad because I was in a nearly identical situation with my mom right around the time I was 18-20, right down to her taking my car keys away (for going on dates, in my case). It got better for me by putting my foot down, but my mother pretty much stopped talking to me for about 6 months first and things were a lot worse before they were better.

But I wasn't quite sure how to respond, in part because I know, to outsiders, I probably looked kind of like a brat. But outsiders never had to deal with, say, getting screamed at around age 20 for being a selfish, terrible person because you were, say, on the internet at midnight. For example. People here--myself included sometimes--tend to see things as black and white but that kind of emotional abuse is a hundred shades of gray. The way you're made to feel like a selfish, terrible person for doing the things people around you are doing--having friends, having a life outside your parents, not instantly acquiescing to unreasonable demands--really does a number on you and, meh, I don't know.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:37 PM on June 13, 2011 [47 favorites]


So its illegal...but not abuse. Huh?

If a kid takes their parent's car without asking, is that kid abusing the parent? If a roommate eats my food without paying me for it, is that roommate abusing me? I do not believe that your working definition of abuse is "anything that is illegal".
posted by 23skidoo at 4:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


A mod has indicated that arguments over whether or not the OP is being abused are not helping.

So -- maybe people could just chill and offer constructive suggestions to the OP?
posted by angrycat at 4:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


You don't understand because you have never been there. I would not wish that on you or anyone else.

Respectfully, you have no goddamn idea where I have or haven't been. Don't try to pretend that you have some unique enlightened viewpoint that allows only you to see truths.
posted by kafziel at 4:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


Not just doesn't pay, but the insurance isn't even in her name. That strongly suggests the title isn't either - someone else pays my car insurance, but my name's on the title so my name's on the policy.

That doesn't suggest anything, actually. It only suggests that you want it to be in the mom's name.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:38 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Respectfully, you have no goddamn idea where I have or haven't been. Don't try to pretend that you have some unique enlightened viewpoint that allows only you to see truths.

You should take some of that advice, yourself, dude.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:39 PM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


So -- maybe people could just chill and offer constructive suggestions to the OP?

Best comment ever. I'm out.
posted by hal_c_on at 4:39 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


The poster claims that it was given to her by a cousin. Why would you assume its not in her name?

Would it be too pedantic to explain the difference between knowledge and assumption? For all you know the title is still in the cousin's name and the mother got permission from the cousin to take the keys. Or the OP is using "gave" in the sense of "it used to belong to" when really her mother pays the loan that paid the cousin.

Point is: you don't know any better than anyone else does.
posted by toomuchpete at 4:40 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


In a small or rural community that's *entirely* possible.

I didn't ask if it's possible. There's no evidence that the asker is in a rural community. And if it's a "small" community (also not in evidence), then by definition a 30-mile round trip within the community would be surprising.

Most of the country is pretty spread out and walking is unreasonable in any sense.

In any sense? For crying out loud.

And you do realize that it was actually the "child's" keys, and not the parent's right?

What do you mean? The clarification in the question thread from the OP did not say that the car belonged to the asker. It vaguely and confusingly said only that the insurance is in the parent's name, and did not answer the question of who the owner of the car is.

The poster claims that it was given to her by a cousin. Why would you assume its not in her name?

Because the poster was asked by several people who's name the car was under, and when the poster followed up, the follow-up somehow answered only the question of who's name the insurance is in, without answering anything about ownership of the car. And because, the poster, according to the information in the question, has no control over the car even under normal circumstances.
posted by The World Famous at 4:40 PM on June 13, 2011


I wrote a three paragraph response here (man, theora55 is right, I need to get outsie), but several comments here and in the AskMe addressed the same thoughts I had but much more eloquently than I had, so I deleted it. Plus the OP's recent response addressed several of my concerns.

So I'll just this - at times it's frustrating how many things here get over thought and made into something bigger than it needs to be, but I'm glad to know that there are enough people here that take the problems of strangers seriously enough to even be having this discussion. I hope I never need AskMe as an only resource for help, but it makes me feel better knowing that it's here. I just hope if the time comes it doesn't also result in a MeTa.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 4:41 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


On this whole food thing I think there's a grey area between abuse and simply being an ineffective parent. Some parents when faced with a really serious power struggle will give out ridiculous punishments. We have no idea whether the parent(s) in this situation are actually going to follow through on this threat. For all we know the fight happened 30 minutes ago with the parent and the OP both storming out of a huge argument where they were both completely unreasonable.

If the parent really follows through on the treat of denying their child food, clearly abusive.

if the parent is merely making hollow threats because they're frustrated and angry about their child's behaviour, well, not everyone is Dr Spock. Sometimes entire families are dysfunctional.

You don't understand because you have never been there. I would not wish that on you or anyone else.

So it's entirely possible that you are right. But most of us only have one family history and there are a lot of possibilities out there.

Also, for those counting how many angels can dance in a tank of gas, it's entirely possible that the "$5 a day" remark is not the literal truth but merely an indication that the OP doesn't spend much on gas relative to what his "friends" want him to pay.
posted by GuyZero at 4:41 PM on June 13, 2011


Respectfully, you have no goddamn idea where I have or haven't been. Don't try to pretend that you have some unique enlightened viewpoint that allows only you to see truths.

I know enough to know that you attempt to hide your callowness by preceding it with the term "Respectfully" which speaks volumes in itself.

What the thought process is that makes you seem to believe that whether her parents pay her car insurance or not is a factor in whether they are allowed to withhold food from this young adult and restrict her physical movements - is a thought process forever beyond me and I thank whatever gods there may be for that.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 4:42 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ooh boy, I'm the OP. I don't want to share the same fate as Sansgras, so I only lurk and decided to ask this question anonymously. I really was not offended by the variety of comments---I mean, why else post a question if I can't take the breadth of advice lol? Actually, I appreciated the multitude of perspectives and I was hoping to comb over each one in great detail. And, I guess, after looking at Metatalk, it's fair to say the car is not technically mine, even though I have the title. Under the condition that my cousin gave me the car for my 17th birthday, my mother agreed to pay for the insurance during the three months per year that I am in state. It sits in the driveway for the remainder of the year. Once again, thanks for all of your comments...didn't mean to start a Metawar, really.
posted by nikayla_luv at 4:47 PM on June 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


They're not withholding food or restricting her physical movements. They're expecting her to pay for her own food, and wouldn't let her walk across town when she was a kid.
posted by kafziel at 4:47 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, and I am in good standing with my sisters and brothers. In fact, the older ones borrow money from me all the time (even when I am in school), which is way I was surprised by the cab fare...sorry to derail.
posted by nikayla_luv at 4:48 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


nikayla, I didn't have much to add to the thread other than what I said here. Have been there before and I know it can be incredibly rough. Hugs and support to you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:49 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Telling an adult they have to buy their own food isn't the same as "withholding food." In fact, it doesn't even seem all that weird to me.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:50 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thank you for clearing that up for us, nikayla_luv. Mighty brave of you to step into the warzone!
posted by katillathehun at 4:50 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Not a derail at all! Thanks for stepping into the thread, that takes some guts! If the title is in your name, the car belongs to you regardless of who pays for insurance. You'll just need to start paying for insurance if you decide to play hardball about it. If you're the sole owner on the title, the car belongs to you.
posted by stoneweaver at 4:51 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


In any sense? For crying out loud.

Seriously. If it's a 4-5 mile round trip just to get a can of Coke, thats pretty unreasonable. And thats not at all uncommon in suburban America, where a very large % of the population lives. In rural America it's even more common. City dwellers often forget this (and I apply this to pseudo-suburbs in dense metro areas, like LA's "suburbs").
posted by wildcrdj at 4:51 PM on June 13, 2011


nikayla, hugs to you, dearie
posted by angrycat at 4:51 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is totally unrelated to the situation at hand, but it's not a good idea to let a car sit undriven for 9 months at a time - have someone drive it around the block from time to time. Things rust and dry out and crack.
posted by needs more cowbell at 4:52 PM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


I guess this is my first call out?
posted by iamabot at 4:53 PM on June 13, 2011


And, I guess, after looking at Metatalk, it's fair to say the car is not technically mine, even though I have the title.

FWIW - if the title is in your name then it is actually your car regardless of who pays the insurance on it - something you might not be aware of and something that is good to know. Insurance for a young person can be expensive but if you go with the state minimums and no collision or comprehensive - you might find that you are able to get it down to sixty or seventy bucks or so a month. 17 bucks a week ( three hours work a week ) might be well worth greater personal freedom.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 4:53 PM on June 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


City dwellers often forget this

I grew up in a midwestern suburb. I have not forgotten.

nikayla_luv: Yeah, your situation sucks. But seriously, it's just 10 more days. You can make it work. And sell the car. If it's sitting uninsured for 9 months of every year, it's just going to waste anyway.
posted by The World Famous at 4:56 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I can't believe we now know the identity of the person who's posted over 10,000 questions on AskMe.
posted by gman at 4:58 PM on June 13, 2011 [38 favorites]


I hope things work out for you nikayla_luv.
posted by Sailormom at 5:03 PM on June 13, 2011


Me too. It gets better; freedom is tasty.
posted by jtron at 5:11 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


nikayla: You're certainly very mature to have such a healthy perspective on the answers given to you. Seriously, kudos for that. And best of luck!
posted by sonika at 5:14 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I agree with what The World Famous said in the AskMe thread -- sell the car and gain your independence. Evidently you don't need a car when you're at school, so if you find an off-campus apartment, you shouldn't need a car for the 3 months you're not in school.
posted by desjardins at 5:18 PM on June 13, 2011


When I was a kid, I was in a abusive situation. I sought help. Being entrenched in the situation and confused and oppressed and repressed, I could never manage to present my problems in such a way that any outsiders could understand.

For example: I would be punished for failing to do my chores, which sounds reasonable to outsiders. But I was harshly punished--along with the recipient of a lecture explaining to me just why I deserved the (disproportionately harsh) punishment--because when I tried to do the chores, they *couldn't be done* to my mother's satisfaction; she'd change the definition of what I was supposed to be doing in order to keep me confused and off-balance. And explain to me the whole time that it was all my fault and she was in the right.

I didn't have the *language* to express why it was wrong; I didn't have the emotional bearing to express why it was wrong. And to people outside our family, who "knew" that parents are permitted to be strict and teens are "always rebellious," assumed that I was just being a brat. My fucking guidance counselor told me to "grow up" when I kept coming to school in tears from my daily morning lecture about what an unworthy child I was. Bitch.

My point is: it can be hard to judge from the outside when someone is in an abusive situation, because they don't know how to explain it to express how bad it is. And they are likely to use vocabulary and framing that were handed to them by the person who is being abusive. If someone is expressing that they're being hit with unreasonably heavy punishment for something pretty minor, and it's clear that there is perplexing amounts of control in the situation, it's very possible that there is abuse going on.

And if so, it could be further damaging to use language that will echo the possible abuser's own framing of the situation: "you're a brat and you deserve this." It's very, very hard to break away from the emotional control of someone who is abusive. A person remains in an abusive relationship out of fear, and because there is control, however minimal it may seem from the outside. Five people screaming "THIS ISN'T RIGHT!" can be drowned out, in an abused person's mind, by one person who agrees with their abuser; it's familiar and it agrees with someone who's in authority over them, so they listen to it.

Disproportionate punishment and excessive control are indeed great big blaring suggestions that someone is in an abusive relationship. Not being able to explain the problem so that people on the outside understand? Also possibly a symptom, not necessarily an indicator of "brattiness." I'm just saying, be aware. This is something that's hard to express clearly.

Poet_Lariat: " You don't understand because you have never been there. I would not wish that on you or anyone else."

Indeed.
posted by galadriel at 5:24 PM on June 13, 2011 [50 favorites]


nikayla_luv: "it's fair to say the car is not technically mine, even though I have the title"

Nope. You're not a minor, you have the title, the car is yours. Conditions do not apply to legal ownership.
posted by galadriel at 5:33 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


If it's a 4-5 mile round trip just to get a can of Coke, thats pretty unreasonable.

IF you want to end up with zero net calories, that sounds about right.
posted by nomisxid at 5:35 PM on June 13, 2011


The withholding food, but not water or electricity, really suggested to me that Mom's been doing the cooking and said that was going to stop. Of course she wouldn't hold back water or electricity--I bet Mom is doing the laundry, too, and would like help with that. Anyone see anywhere in the OP's schedule (library, re-runs, sleeping, going out with friends) where the OP is cooking, cleaning or doing laundry?

And for those of you that were abused, would you just let a younger sibling stay in that situation? Not even drive her to the mall? I'd be annoyed at taking my sisters to the mall, but I had it easy and I know it. I would hope that if I were in an abusive home and had younger siblings, I'd be doing everything I could for them, which is why I really wonder what the situation at home is like for nikayla_luv.
posted by misha at 5:46 PM on June 13, 2011


misha, I didn't want to drag OP's posting history in this, but it does give some context for her childhood and what's going on there.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:48 PM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


Also, people in abusive situations have often had their self-esteem kind of destroyed and have seen behavior that's abusive normalized. It's hard enough to recognize what's going on, much less save someone else from it.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:50 PM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I would hope that if I were in an abusive home and had younger siblings, I'd be doing everything I could for them,

Here's a bit of unfortunate reality. If you are in a really abusive family situation you don't have a lot of time to spend helping your siblings as most of the time you are too busy treading water just to survive your mileage may vary. You don't form close familial relationships. Your parent(s) try to break those up as soon as they see them so you are more fully dependent on your abuser(s).

Did you notice the part of her posting where nikayla mentions that her siblings wouldn't help her out and take her places when she needed their help?

I did.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 5:54 PM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


misha: "And for those of you that were abused, would you just let a younger sibling stay in that situation? "

Well. Okay, I can only give you my experience. By the time I was mid-teens I knew that there was absolutely no way, absolutely NO way, to get it right when I was asked to do something. I was going to get punished at the end, so why even try? For a while I simply refused to do anything. I wasn't confrontational about it, but several of my siblings who also reached that point were. It's a way to try, somehow, to have some of your own control in a situation where you have none.

Yeah, I did what I could for my siblings, when they'd accept help, and when there was help I could give. That was *after* I (more or less) ran away from home and was no longer under her thumb myself. As long as I was there, as long as I was under that overwhelming influence, I just didn't have emotion to spare for my siblings. I'm sorry, now, for not being of more help to them, but I couldn't think clearly enough to help *myself*. Not to mention, I can see in retrospect, she was playing us all against each other to keep us further off balance. There was a lot of resentment between us all, back then.

You're kind of asking the wrong question, I think. "If you're convinced that *you* deserve the mistreatment, will it occur to you that your sibling is being mistreated?" might be a better one.
posted by galadriel at 5:58 PM on June 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


My husband grew up in a very very abusive home. I can vouch for the fact that totally screws with your perspective of what normal is.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:00 PM on June 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


I went back and read a little posting history.

Damn. And I don't say that lightly.

Honey, get out of that house and do not look back. And for the love of God make sure those people cannot adopt any more kids.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 6:02 PM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I read the original question as abuse too. A "free" place to stay is not worth it, nikayla. Get out and don't look back.

And hang in there; it does get better.
posted by guster4lovers at 6:07 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


And for those of you that were abused, would you just let a younger sibling stay in that situation?

Unfortunately, yes. I had to. I had no other options.

And until you've stepped into the life of an abused person, until you've had to make the hard decisions some of us have had to make to survive, don't you fucking dare judge us.
posted by palomar at 6:13 PM on June 13, 2011 [19 favorites]


nthing the point that a messed up household will also mess up your standards of normality. I still cannot believe how lucky I am when I break a glass in my own home and nobody beats the shit out of me.

Jtron, freedom is tasty and so, so sweet! I fucking love it!
posted by Tarumba at 6:16 PM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


And yeah, the only help I could offer to my sisters was to silently cry when they were being beaten up. The couple of times I tried, it was more like suicide, rather than defending them.
posted by Tarumba at 6:18 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's not illegal to take the keys to your own car from the child who insists that it is theirs.

The car doesn't belong to the mother and the OP is presumably 18 on older. Which means that's theft.
posted by spaltavian at 6:23 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't think that's how theft works. Mom didn't take the car; she forbid her daughter from using it.

Yeah, legally, the car is the poster's. But the poster also is letting mom pay for insurance and choosing to stay at mom's house as an adult. You pick your fights and you decide what bargains are worth it to you.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:28 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


And, I guess, after looking at Metatalk, it's fair to say the car is not technically mine, even though I have the title. Under the condition that my cousin gave me the car for my 17th birthday, my mother agreed to pay for the insurance during the three months per year that I am in state. It sits in the driveway for the remainder of the year. Once again, thanks for all of your comments...didn't mean to start a Metawar, really.

OP, that means its your cousin's car, not your mom's. Get your own insurance and drive away. If you can't afford it, get a job that will allow you to. Independence will require sacrifice, and for your, more so than most people, unfortunately.
posted by spaltavian at 6:28 PM on June 13, 2011


I don't think that's how theft works. Mom didn't take the car; she forbid her daughter from using it.

She stole the keys. And Mom can't forbid an adult from doing anything. What Mom can do is kick the OP out and cut off support. It's up to the OP to decide if that's worth it (I think so), but Mom has no rights to the car, only to cancel the insurance she pays for.
posted by spaltavian at 6:30 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


She demanded and was given the keys, she didn't steal them. You're right that a parent can't forbid an adult child from doing anything -- the poster chose to allow herself to be forbidden.

I'm really unclear here if the poster's cousin said "here, drive my car" or actually transferred ownership. This make a big difference in terms of the options.
posted by J. Wilson at 6:33 PM on June 13, 2011


Totally. That's what I was telling the judge when they were all talking about the dungeon in my basement with the extra large fridge.

If my parents don't let me eat their food, are they abusing me?
posted by Justinian at 6:34 PM on June 13, 2011


If my parents don't let me eat their food, are they abusing me?

Seriously? This is all that you took away from the poster's story, her follow ups, the Meta discussion as well as the multiple real life stories of people posted in both threads who appear to have been in similar straits? Really? That's it ?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 6:40 PM on June 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


She demanded and was given the keys, she didn't steal them. You're right that a parent can't forbid an adult child from doing anything -- the poster chose to allow herself to be forbidden.

"Choice" is something much more readily available to those of us who didn't grow up in controlling and abusive environments (and even then, as a 20/21-year-old, it's hardly easy to defy your parents).

nikayla_luv, you don't have to go home again. You really don't. If you don't have the resources for your own place yet, couch-surf as much as possible. Also, I went to college in a rural area; not having a car was hard, and would have been nearly impossible if my jobs had been 10 miles from my college town, but it actually would have been fairly easy to find places (free or nearly free) to stay during breaks - many of my profs were on the lookout for responsible (sober!) students to housesit when the profs went out of town on vacation or research trips.
posted by rtha at 6:45 PM on June 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


Here's a question for those who are still jumping up and down saying things are alrighty at the OP's place?

What the heck is your deal? I mean, for the love of all that is holy? Is it entertaining to you? Because I am really not getting something.
posted by angrycat at 6:45 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


If my parents don't let me eat their food, are they abusing me?

If you're a baby, yes. If you're an independent 40 year-old dropping by for an afternoon visit, no. In the OP's case, quite possibly. You may wish to open a dictionary to the word context and have a read.
posted by Dasein at 6:46 PM on June 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sorry for the unintentional uptalking in my previous comment. That happens when my interior is all FUUUUUUUUUUUUUU
posted by angrycat at 6:46 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So will there be an intervention? Will ninja Metafites swoop in and rescue OP? Stay tuned...
posted by Ideefixe at 6:47 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I think some people might not be making the distinction between an abusive relationship, which this might be, and criminal abuse (such as child abuse or elder abuse), which this appears not to be.
posted by grouse at 6:56 PM on June 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Really? That's it ?

What gives you that idea?

We really have no idea what is happening. The OP can't even tell us who owns the damn car with any sort of reliability! Technically her parents own it even though she has the title? Huh? That doesn't make sense. The food thing? She's an adult! It's not abuse to tell an adult to feed herself! That doesn't mean other things might not be; it is not abuse if I tell a random stranger to feed himself but it is abuse if I punch him in the face. Well, assault. But you get my meaning.

If the OP can't even tell us if she owns the friggin' care, how are we supposed to answer in a meaningful way?
posted by Justinian at 6:59 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


In my mind, it doesn't matter whether we label the behavior "abusive" or not. We're not police. We're not nikayla_luv's parents. We're not family members or friends or anything but disinterested internet people.

I can imagine this question from nikayla_luv's mom's point of view, and I can imagine all the people who are declaring this to be an abusive relationship, turning and being supportive of a parent's right to dictate what happens in their house. And all the people who are counselling moderation continuing to counsel moderation and getting (unfairly) castigated for it.

So what's the point? Believe what you like, counsel what you like, and ignore everyone else.
posted by muddgirl at 7:01 PM on June 13, 2011


If the OP can't even tell us if she owns the friggin' care, how are we supposed to answer in a meaningful way?

Who owns the car really has nothing to do with this at all. It's a side issue and a rather unimportant one at best. I would recommend that you look at the O.P. posting history to gain greater insight to her family situation but since you have shown no apparent empathy towards the O.P thus far it may be a waste of time for you to do so. What I and many others have said in this thread already still holds true, if you haven't been in the situation you may not recognize it for what it is. If there is anything positive to be had from my own family experiences , it is that they have given me the insight and empathy to understand someone else's misfortune. I probably would be a much shallower person without such experiences.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:07 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Was it established somewhere upthread that mom is abusive and not just a tiger mom? I read the OP's updates - and other threads - and I'm not seeing it, but I'm starting to feel like a jerk for thinking it's ambiguous at most.
posted by J. Wilson at 7:11 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


She was barely able to post on Metafilter today, someone get her help, stat! Where's the White People Problem Whambulance?!

In no way belittling the problems of the anonymous poster, just enjoying the axe grinders.
posted by yerfatma at 7:13 PM on June 13, 2011


I would recommend that you look at the O.P. posting history to gain greater insight to her family situation but since you have shown no apparent empathy towards the O.P thus far it may be a waste of time for you to do so. What I and many others have said in this thread already still holds true, if you haven't been in the situation you may not recognize it for what it is.

And if you HAVE been in the situation, you may not recognize her situation for what it is. From reading her posting history, her family history seems very strict, but not necessarily abusive.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:18 PM on June 13, 2011


Who owns the car really has nothing to do with this at all

Given that the original question was about the car, and that if the Mom is not the owner, the OP can find freedom at highway speed, it matters quite a bit. What isn't important, actually, is whether Metafilter defines this as "official" abuse or not. I find the OP getting out of this situation much more important than watching you establish your abuse bona fides, allowing you to tell other people that they just can't understand.

You may have noticed that we are more or less in agreement about this particular question, but stuff like this: I know enough to know that you attempt to hide your callowness by preceding it with the term "Respectfully" which speaks volumes in itself., is tremendously off-putting. I'm not sure if you'd agree, but I think you're coming across as obnoxious or at least condescending (telling other people where they have been, calling me "Sparky", etc.) and it would be great if you'd knock it off.
posted by spaltavian at 7:29 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


What was it that one the mods said, one of the J's? "Be kind, for everyone is fighting their own tough battle" or something similar.

Yeah, that ya'll.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:30 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


She was barely able to post on Metafilter today, someone get her help, stat! Where's the White People Problem Whambulance?!

Congratulations! You just won the Biggest Dick on the Internet award.
posted by palomar at 7:33 PM on June 13, 2011 [25 favorites]


You don't take the keys to a car that belongs to someone else.

If you don't like it, you can pack your shit up and go live somewhere else kiddo.
posted by floam at 7:39 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


And without showing the photos!
posted by yerfatma at 7:39 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn preview. Just to clarify, oalomar is right, it can be seen from a telescope. Or with one. Backwards.
posted by yerfatma at 7:40 PM on June 13, 2011


spaltavian: calling me "Sparky", etc.) and it would be great if you'd knock it off.

I apologize for hurting your feelings. I wonder if you will so the same for telling the O.P. that she was "being a brat" ? Or do the rules only apply when someone hurts your feelings and not the other way around?
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:42 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I apologize for hurting your feelings.

You didn't hurt my feelings, you are, however, being obnoxious. And for someone who has leveled "callow" at someone in this same thread, I feel you're also being hilarious.
posted by spaltavian at 7:51 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


OK. I guess that answers my question then.
posted by Poet_Lariat at 7:55 PM on June 13, 2011


Note: Everyone needs a hug.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:55 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Am I still being called out? Hey guys... ?
posted by iamabot at 7:56 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, iamabot - on a scale of 1-11, your original comment now ranks somewhere in the realm of imaginary negative numbers. Try harder next time!
posted by rtha at 8:05 PM on June 13, 2011


I was really looking forward to a good old torch and pitchforking.
posted by iamabot at 8:09 PM on June 13, 2011


I bite my thumb at all of you.
posted by angrycat at 8:10 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't why I said that, carry on.
posted by angrycat at 8:13 PM on June 13, 2011


I bite angrycat's thumb at all of you too!
Needs ketchup.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:14 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Respectfully, AskMe is not a safe space and this is unlikely to happen . . . the OP is going to have to make their own decisions about how to deal with this situation and commenters bitching at each other for calling it abuse or, alternatively, not seeing the obvious abuse don't really help the OP with their problem.

Hi, I walked my dog and had a protein-rich dinner.

I mean, I get that. I wouldn't have found it disrespectful if you'd said so without the modifying adverb. I get it, and I didn't think that starting this conversation about it would necessarily change anything in any demonstrable way, and I certainly wasn't asking for any kind of mod policing around this. But I thought it was worth being explicit--more explicit--about why I think there are other possibilities and why those possibilities matter. Maybe it's just another hill to die on, but if someone thinks twice about it, all to the good. That's all. I mean, if "commenters bitching at each other," you mean me, okay, but to me it's a little more than that.
posted by liketitanic at 8:25 PM on June 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Sigh. As someone from an ambiguously crazy household, I have certainly noticed that there is a price to be paid for having a family and/or getting freebies from the family such as somewhere to stay when the dorms are closed and car usage. Price #1 is: put up with the crazy and appease it while you are. (No offense, nikayla, but I think even sane parents would have gotten ticked at you saying you'd rather flop on your butt and watch reruns than do a chore. I immediately thought "oh man, that is just asking for trouble" the second I read that. But now you know, right?) This is not to say that her parents are right, because that reaction is just freaking crazy and over the top for what she did.

However... there is a price to pay for having a family. And what it is going to boil down to is, can she completely and utterly fend for herself financially and/or cut herself off from her family for probably the rest of her life, or is she willing to pay the price of appeasing the crazy a few weeks a year so she can still have some semblance of family and save some money? And she's already been adopted, so this might be a sensitive issue for her.

What I really wanted to say here is, when you come from crazy, it is NOT THAT EASY to just choose to totally separate yourself from parents. I really hate it when I see some kind of thing like this and everyone is all, "Cut 'em off!" Not everyone is up to that task in their early 20's. Some people do grow up early, get the boot at age 16 and work crap jobs and live on the street and will do anything for their independence and it comes naturally to them. But that isn't true for everyone. Especially with this kind of insidious parenting where nobody's beating you at home and while things seem kinda off compared to everyone else's parents, it's all you know and it seems "normal" to you. You feel like a traitor for going against them, and you're afraid of being utterly cut off and alone in the world if you attempt to stop their crazy. It's high stakes.

So....just cut her some slack, eh? Yes, her parents are crazy and wrong, but right now in the moment, this is what she's got to put up with, and we don't know how up she is to going full blown independent right this second financially either.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:50 PM on June 13, 2011 [27 favorites]


Who owns the car really has nothing to do with this at all. It's a side issue and a rather unimportant one at best.

The original question being "I recently got into a fight with my mother, who now refuses to let me drive MY car or go anywhere!" (ok, not actually a question) I'm going to have to take issue with your framing.

On a separate note, I'm a little confused about the policy with regard to bringing in people's old comments and questions in different threads. The policy appears to be "It's not okay except when it is". Which is a fine policy as far as I'm concerned; I'm not big on hard and fast rules. But I thought it was more of a no no than it seems to be here.
posted by Justinian at 9:10 PM on June 13, 2011


Yeah, seriously...WTF is that about?

It's what you tell kids who want to be all 'but I'm an adult' on the one hand but 'waah I'm watching TV while I freeload off you over the holidays' on the other. You're a grown up who doesn't have to / can't be arsed helping out? Wonderful! Get your own house.
posted by obiwanwasabi at 9:21 PM on June 13, 2011


After reading her first question, it seems likely to me that her parents are or were in effect running a foster child farm, and adopted her partly as source of free labor, although a sincere desire to bring otherwise potentially lost souls to Christ isn't out of the question.

I don't think most of us really can conceive what such a childhood must have been like, with its combination of exploitation and unassailable righteousness on the part of her exploiters.

'Abuse' would seem only the beginning of an adequate description.
posted by jamjam at 9:21 PM on June 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


while I freeload off you over the holidays'

Jesus fucking christ. "Freeloading over the holidays" is also known as visiting, or do your parents charge you rent and make you buy all your own food and not let you put even a tablespoon of "their" milk in "your" coffee when you go home to visit?

I have no idea what exactly happens at the OP's house or what it was like growing up there. And neither do you. Your (and others') sneering judgement speaks volumes, though.
posted by rtha at 9:34 PM on June 13, 2011 [26 favorites]


"Freeloading over the holidays" is also known as visiting,

Speaking for myself, when I visit someone for three weeks straight I make sure I'm in no way a burden, including chauffeuring whomever needs it, buying groceries, cleaning, and making sure I'm out of people's hair for big chunks of each day. I doubt I was as thoughtful at age 22, but it was certainly expected that I pull some household weight while I was home. Unless your parents were pretty well off, this was pretty much the norm. (And generally I was working at the pizza place over holidays, so I could feed myself, but not everyone has the ability to have a job lined up for sporatic 1 - 3 weeks at a time.)
posted by small_ruminant at 9:41 PM on June 13, 2011


And we don't know that she hasn't been doing all of that. The fact that she declined once to do an errand does not mean she refused to do all errands and chores. We do not know that she has not pulled her weight (and since, according to a description in one of her questions, she grew up in a household where she was a big caretaker of many, many foster children, it doesn't sound like she doesn't know what "pulling your weight" means).

My mom was certainly not wealthy, but when I was home for school breaks, I wasn't expected to supply all my own food, or pay rent. Some breaks were long enough that I had jobs, and then I'd often pick up groceries on the way home. Others, not so much, and when I only had part-time work-study income, my mom didn't expect me to buy my own food if there was already food in the fridge. Because it was also my home.
posted by rtha at 9:48 PM on June 13, 2011 [17 favorites]


Considering nothing much came out of this call-out other than the OP outing themselves and a subsequent rummaging through their history, I'm not sure leaving this open can lead to anything good. Bravo to the OP for having such a good attitude about the whole thing, though.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 9:49 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


On a separate note, I'm a little confused about the policy with regard to bringing in people's old comments and questions in different threads. The policy appears to be "It's not okay except when it is". Which is a fine policy as far as I'm concerned; I'm not big on hard and fast rules. But I thought it was more of a no no than it seems to be here.

As someone mentioned upthread, context is everything.
posted by mlis at 10:06 PM on June 13, 2011


It's what you tell kids who want to be all 'but I'm an adult' on the one hand but 'waah I'm watching TV while I freeload off you over the holidays' on the other. You're a grown up who doesn't have to / can't be arsed helping out? Wonderful! Get your own house.

Asshole.
posted by mlis at 10:08 PM on June 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow. What a thread.

I appreciate the MeTa post. It's not always easy to imagine situations one hasn't experienced, so I appreciate the effort to educate us from liketitanic and others who shared stories.

AskMe will always be an exercise in tea leaves, but the question of how to do no harm seems pretty important. In ambiguous questions, I try to think about which error would be more damaging. Some errors seem more self-correcting and harmless. What if I advise an abused person to stop being a brat and take the punishment she deserves? Well, that would be just awful. What if I advised a 20-year-old to cut herself off from a strict but not abusive mother unnecessarily? Well, in the absence of other major contributing factors, they'll probably make up.

This question seems pretty obvious on that front, so I cannot really understand the thought process that would interpret ambiguity in favor of harshness towards the OP.
posted by salvia at 10:09 PM on June 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Technically her parents own it even though she has the title? Huh? That doesn't make sense. The food thing? She's an adult! It's not abuse to tell an adult to feed herself.

Her parents treat her like a small child requiring constant supervision and control, so, I'd say that yes, from their own perspective, they owe her food and shelter.

Alternately, she can be expected to feed herself like an adult. And then can also drive her car (her title = her car) anywhere she pleases. If her folks do not wish to keep gifting her the insurance, they can let it lapse and it will be her responsibility.
posted by desuetude at 10:16 PM on June 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


What if I advise an abused person to stop being a brat and take the punishment she deserves? Well, that would be just awful. What if I advised a 20-year-old to cut herself off from a strict but not abusive mother unnecessarily? Well, in the absence of other major contributing factors, they'll probably make up.

Weird, I see it completely differently. To me, sucking up the car being taken away and having to eat out for 10 days straight because she didn't want to drive her sister to the mall is much more likely to blow over than telling her to cut off all contact with her parents over this. Normal parents aren't all "Dude, you can't eat our food". If she wants to dig in her heels over this, it really could get ugly.

Which might be the best thing or whatever, but just because folks aren't arguing for her to cut off all contact, that doesn't mean that they don't believe in doing the least harm here.
posted by 23skidoo at 10:22 PM on June 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have all sorts of thoughts about this thread, and I even typed out two long comments coming down on a particular side, but for some reason the point I keep getting stuck on is this:

The OP refused to take her kid sister to the mall. The OP wasn't even GOING to the mall in the first place. And the OP's parents were leaving the house in the direction of the mall.

I mean- yeah, if you're kicking it at home on three months on break, it's nice to help out if kid sister has to get to basketball practice or choir or her after-school job. But the mall? Why does "I want to window-shop at Hollister with my friends"* take precedence over "I want to watch Doctor Who on my laptop"?

*Which, not for nothing, OP notes in her question she was never allowed to do. She was in fact only allowed to leave the house to go to her own after-school jobs.**

**Guess it's pretty clear which particular side I come down on.
posted by Snarl Furillo at 10:25 PM on June 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


Where's the White People Problem Whambulance?!

This sort of commenting is toxic to people being able to talk about things in MetaTalk and I'd like you and others going down this road to not do this.

I mean, if "commenters bitching at each other," you mean me, okay, but to me it's a little more than that.

I didn't mean you. Having this conversation in MeTa is where it should happen, not in the AskMe thread.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:35 PM on June 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


To me, sucking up the car being taken away and having to eat out for 10 days straight because she didn't want to drive her sister to the mall is much more likely to blow over than telling her to cut off all contact with her parents over this.

Good point when you put it that way.

just because folks aren't arguing for her to cut off all contact, that doesn't mean that they don't believe in doing the least harm here

I didn't mean to imply anything quite so broad, but I can see maybe it sounded that way.

Your advice goes in a different direction than mine would have but is based on making some similar assumptions in favor of the OP. Whereas some would give advice similar to you while also judging and criticisizing the OP. I think those underlying assumptions and judgments are more what I would consider hurtful, but I'm not thinking too clearly, and may have to try again after a nice eight-hour nap.
posted by salvia at 11:16 PM on June 13, 2011


Nor am I spelling too clearly.
posted by salvia at 11:17 PM on June 13, 2011


-- but please don't criticisize me for it.
posted by salvia at 11:18 PM on June 13, 2011


I mean- yeah, if you're kicking it at home on three months on break, it's nice to help out if kid sister has to get to basketball practice or choir or her after-school job. But the mall? Why does "I want to window-shop at Hollister with my friends"* take precedence over "I want to watch Doctor Who on my laptop"?

To be fair, we don't know *why* kid sister had to go to the mall. Judging by how controlling these parents seem to be, it sounds unlikely that they'd ask just so she could hang out with her buddies and go windowshopping. If that was the case, who was going to bring her back?

More likely is that kid sister had some kind of essential errand to do, and big sister just didn't want to be arsed. I have to say, if I was the parent stumping up for my kid's car insurance and said kid wasn't prepared to help out another family member with the occasional errand, then I'd be all, 'fuck you, I'm not going to pay for your car insurance either'. I might even ask for the car keys -- though none of my kids would ever have given them up. They'd either laugh at me or bitch to their mother about me.

Of course, I wouldn't actually *do* anything, because inconsistent parental discipline is one of my specialities. But I'd definitely say I was going to. And feel righteous about it.

Note: none of this is a comment on OP's situation. I've no idea WTF is going on there. Only OP knows that, and she's not telling.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:20 AM on June 14, 2011


I feel that I should update this thread for clarification. I don't mind explaining things, but I went to bed early last not and forgot to update. It was my first time not running an errand for my parents this week. For one, I don't get gas money to travel thirty minutes out of the way. Secondly, I have been taking my sisters and brothers to multiple places, only not to be reimbursed for costs (i.e. snacks, food, etc.). I didn't want to pay for her shirts, as well. It seems as if my parents expect me to be Mom #2, which is not a role I no longer want. Lastly, my mother was going in the same direction as the mall. Sorry I didn't explain these things in the original post.

But as a twist to the story (and the reason why I logged off of Metafilter early), my mom held a family meeting after I defriended her from Facebook. I couldn't believe she was serious. Now, she is unsure if she and my family will be attending graduation next year. She will not talk to me. This is not the first time it happens. She does this everyone who doesn't comply. A close friend suggested that I wait for things to blow over. So I'll do just that, and use these 9 remaining days to prep for the next quarter. Once again, thanks for the advice!
posted by nikayla_luv at 5:06 AM on June 14, 2011 [11 favorites]


If the title is in the OP's name, then the OP owns the car. Full stop.

I feel like the mefites who are strictly interpreting the discussion based on the OP's car ownership confusion are falling for the same false premise that created the OP's confusion in the first place - the parents are pushing the narrative that they have legal dominion over the car when, in fact, they do not.

The parents can continue to bully the OP for as long as they can keep her misinformed about her ownership rights to the vehicle....

And that's how abuse works.

I'm not surprised by this MeTa. It's so meta.
posted by jbenben at 5:07 AM on June 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


nikayla_luv, you own that car. I would suggest finding a way to insure it yourself so you can drive it away and not come back until and unless your mother can find a way to be reasonable. I have no idea if what she is doing is "abuse," but I'll settle on it being "unreasonable." In response, I think you should not come back the next time you have a break from school.

Good luck.
posted by asciident at 5:21 AM on June 14, 2011


If my parents don't let me eat their food, are they abusing me?

As a parent of teenage girl in college, who I'm currently annoyed with after she didn't straighten up the 2nd floor of our house (which she trashed) before leaving to visit grandparents, yet managed to hang with all her friends, I'm going to chime in and say HELL YES, DUH. It is most definitely abusive to specifically deny your children food, whether they are 6, sixteen or 36. Sure, the older one is, the more options the person has to get around that denial but that doesn't make the parent's actions any less abusive, wrong and messed up.

It doesn't matter if I'm currently annoyed with my daughter over something. It doesn't matter if all I have is a single piece of bread. At the very least she gets a fucking third of it, if not more, because you don't deny people, let alone your offspring, something as basic and needed as food. Especially over refusing to take their sibling to the mall. You yell or tell them you're disappointed or something, but you DO NOT say anything remotely like "Don't you dare eat anything in this house over the next 10 days." Christ, I'm a bit of control freak and wouldn't dream of uttering something like that. Can't even conceive of it. "Save me a piece of that lasgna," sure. "Don't you dare use anything in this house except electricty and water over the next 10 days"? No, not gonna happen, period.

Especially if the kid is as awesome as the nikayla_luv sounds, a self starter paying her own way through college and doing well as she participates in many activities. What kind of person, let alone parent, would pull such a controlling tactic over something as basic as food? That's completely fucked up.

Finally, I'm gonna compare and contrast two comments made by two different posters:

We really have no idea what is happening. The OP can't even tell us who owns the damn car with any sort of reliability! Technically her parents own it even though she has the title? Huh? That doesn't make sense. The food thing? She's an adult! It's not abuse to tell an adult to feed herself! That doesn't mean other things might not be; it is not abuse if I tell a random stranger to feed himself but it is abuse if I punch him in the face.

VS (emphasis mine)

After reading her first question, it seems likely to me that her parents are or were in effect running a foster child farm, and adopted her partly as source of free labor, although a sincere desire to bring otherwise potentially lost souls to Christ isn't out of the question.

If you can't be bothered to listen and insist on seeing this situation as chance to oppose your vision of the world on a situation you not only don't understand but have no interest in understanding, then perhaps you should just be quiet.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:26 AM on June 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


If the title is in the OP's name, then the OP owns the car. Full stop.

For all the clarifying the nikayla_luv has done, some of it quite poignant, we still have no idea who owns the car. We have no idea whose name is on the title. We only know that she "has" the title.

This is illustrative of the question as a whole. We have much more information now than we did when the question first went up, or this thread went up, but even now we don't know the entirety of this story. The self-righteousness in this thread, the self-certainty, some of it the predicate for this thread in the first place, and the callow use of personal abuse stories to authorize that righteousness, is the worst of Metafilter. The range of opinion expressed in the original thread is entirely appropriate and justified. Those who insist on the correctness of their vision of an ambiguous situation, and cast aspersions on the motives, empathy, moral fitness, or intelligence of those who do not agree with their interpretation, are behaving badly.
posted by OmieWise at 5:32 AM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


Those who insist on the correctness of their vision of an ambiguous situation...

Looking at the larger story, delivered by updates and previous questions, makes it clear this is not an ambiguous situation. It's clear that the parents run an abusive and controlling household.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:37 AM on June 14, 2011 [7 favorites]


OmieWise,

my mother's name is on the title because the car was given to me when I was still underage. My parents also pay for upkeep (new tires, inspection, etc.), which is why I did not make such a huge deal about not keeping the car. However, I'm not going to fight over the car at this point because doing so will add fuel to the fire. I also do not want the car, which has been severely damaged by younger sibs when my mom has driven it from time to time. I hope this clarifies things.
posted by nikayla_luv at 5:40 AM on June 14, 2011


Looking at the larger story, delivered by updates and previous questions, makes it clear this is not an ambiguous situation.

Yes, but the majority of the "I'm right, you're a bad person" business in this thread occurred prior to that extra information. Having the information now does not make the situation as it was presented less ambiguous.

my mother's name is on the title because the car was given to me when I was still underage [...] I hope this clarifies things.

It does. I trust you understand that all those who have insisted in this thread, and the other, that you own the car are incorrect. Your mother owns the car.
posted by OmieWise at 5:58 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


After reading her first question, it seems likely to me that her parents are or were in effect running a foster child farm, and adopted her partly as source of free labor, although a sincere desire to bring otherwise potentially lost souls to Christ isn't out of the question.

Oh, the melodrama! You have no idea what her parents' motivations were. And neither do I, though the fact that she calls them mom and dad and calls her adopted siblings her brothers and sisters is pretty telling to me of an actual familial relationship.

And if we're going to get into her posting history, don't forget that her parents found her at 4 am passed out drunk next to her car not so long ago. If I found a college age kid of mine in that condition, I'd be pretty likely to restrict their driving for a while, too.
posted by amro at 5:58 AM on June 14, 2011


amro:

You are definitely correct, I can see how my parents may have trust issues due to the previous drunk situation. I can't blame them for that. But I do view my parents as my parents, no matter if the bond is broken or not.

OmieWise:

Thanks for explaining how the title/ownership thing works. I really don't care about taking the car with me, anyways. I live in the middle of nowhere at school (the nearest Wal Mart is 30 minutes away).
posted by nikayla_luv at 6:13 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Couldn't this just be closed? Is there any good to come out of microanalyzing every damn thing that nikayla_luv has said? Even after she's replied with apparent grace and patience and maturity?

I mean I know relationship askmes and metas are fun, but by now, this is just painful, and liketitanic's point has been made and supported by others, and I don't see the big MeTa thing that hasn't already been covered. By now the thread seems like rubbernecking at the expense of an actual human being.
posted by torticat at 6:19 AM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


nikayla_luv: " But as a twist to the story (and the reason why I logged off of Metafilter early), my mom held a family meeting after I defriended her from Facebook. I couldn't believe she was serious. Now, she is unsure if she and my family will be attending graduation next year. She will not talk to me. This is not the first time it happens. She does this everyone who doesn't comply. A close friend suggested that I wait for things to blow over. So I'll do just that, and use these 9 remaining days to prep for the next quarter. Once again, thanks for the advice!"

This sounds like emotional blackmail on your mother's part.

Speaking as a parent, it's not unusual for one to withhold something from a child who misbehaves, or who doesn't behave the way we want. Many parents teach their children by responding to their actions with reasonable rewards and punishments.

However, what you seem to be dealing with are insanely out-of-proportion parental reactions. And that crosses the line between reasonable reaction and emotional blackmail. She's threatening to withhold her approval of you, a confirmation of her love for you, because you did something that offended her. Worse, she's threatening to have your entire family do so as well.

She's manipulating you. Worse, she's manipulating them into supporting her against you. You're seem to already be aware that this is not a healthy dynamic. The best way to deal with parent(s) who act this way is at a distance.

Here are a couple of books I've found helpful in dealing with my own parents.

* Toxic Parents: Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life by Susan Forward (Google preview here. Your mileage may vary, but I thought it was an amazing book. Found it extremely helpful.)

* Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You also by Susan Forward.

I'm kind of a slow memail responder, but if you ever need to talk, vent or get a different person's perspective, please do feel free to memail me.
posted by zarq at 6:59 AM on June 14, 2011 [23 favorites]


But I see nothing to suggest that they're abusive. So bend over backwards to make things work. Do everything you can do. Put up with more than you should have to. Make sure that, no matter what, there's nothing in your own conduct that could reasonably set them off.

This answer seems really destructive. Don't give into them. Maintain your own personality, and escape when you can.
posted by Lovecraft In Brooklyn at 7:02 AM on June 14, 2011 [9 favorites]


Congratulations! You just won the Biggest Dick on the Internet award.

Are you taking nominations for runner-up?
posted by Dano St at 7:10 AM on June 14, 2011


and the callow use of personal abuse stories to authorize that righteousness

You know, as someone shared a bit of herself here, I think that's a really unkind way to characterize it. I shared my abuse story to communicate to nikayla_luv that I'd been there before--in a similar situation--that I knew how difficult that was.

It's really, really hard for me to hear all these people STILL saying stuff that amounts to, "If you behave, your parents will treat you decently." Because when I was in her position, I got straight As and was generally respectful and spent time with my mother and hardly ever drank. And this is in college, mind you, not high school. And I still got treated badly. What makes things difficult in instances of emotional abuse are the constantly moving goal posts, the way it's always your fault. I knew people who flunked out of college and wrecked cars and came home drunk whose parents still loved them unconditionally. But for me, there was always this feeling that I pretty much existed for my mom. My needs, desires, wants were always secondary, no matter how minor or stupid.

I wonder if that resonates at all for you, nikayla_luv.

The facebook thing: ironically, my mother recently got insulted and didn't speak to me for two weeks because I posted a picture of a new tattoo on facebook. Luckily, we have firm enough boundaries now that I could tell her she was being a butt and ignore it. Within a few weeks, it was better (she usually acts out like that because she wants some kind of attention). But like I said upthread, those developments only came after a lot of pain and fighting and growth.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:25 AM on June 14, 2011 [20 favorites]


why callow? webster's defines this as youthful immaturity. I'm a no-callow 41, and if you think people are feverishly getting their callow rocks off over another person's bad situation, you're wrong, speaking for myself.

What you might find is some people are trying to support each other because they recognize each other as survivors of this or similar bullshit. Perhaps you wish to be in this club, this group of people who have experienced this bad thing? You probably don't, right? So then -- what's the what here.

I support the idea of closing the thread if people are going to do bullshit things like post stuff from her history to discredit her. SHe didn't ask for this metatalk, I assume, and that is just so unfair. Jesus.

I do, however, welcome the opportunity to hear other people's stories and how they view things. It may help other people who have grown up with undefined weird shit going on and are not in therapy dealing with it, or some other support system.
posted by angrycat at 7:35 AM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


There is so much information missing from this story that it's just not possible to keep drawing all of these conclusions.
posted by amro at 7:44 AM on June 14, 2011


I support the idea of closing the thread if people are going to do bullshit things like post stuff from her history to discredit her.

Is posting stuff from her history to support the abuse narrative also a bullshit thing?
posted by Dano St at 7:47 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


why callow?

Because it sounds enough like "callous" that people frequently get the meanings confused.
posted by RogerB at 7:59 AM on June 14, 2011 [8 favorites]


There is so much information missing from this story that it's just not possible to keep drawing all of these conclusions.

All of what conclusions? That the relationship between her and her mother doesn't sound happy or fun, that it sounds like it's not built on the same scaffolding of trust that other parent-child relationships are? That doesn't mean her mother doesn't think she's doing the right thing, or that she's an evil witch, or they don't love each other. It just means that their relationship is recognizably unhealthy, in ways that are very clear to people who have been there before.

liketitanic's original point raised in making this MeTa was that those who are abused (and here, I'm referring to emotional abuse, not physical abuse) bear the onus of proof, and the abusers never do. I think at the very least it's fair at this point to give her the benefit of the doubt and believe what she's told us about herself and her life. She knows better than we do.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:00 AM on June 14, 2011 [13 favorites]


I found the theorizing about her foster care parents' motivations to be unhelpful. But not as clear asshattery as digging nuggety details of shame and parading them for all to see, given this context.
posted by angrycat at 8:00 AM on June 14, 2011


also: her fosterparents aren't parties to this argument in this forum. I'm not sure who you're worrying about harming here.
posted by angrycat at 8:03 AM on June 14, 2011


auto-correct: I think people providing different types of answers is a feature, not a bug.

This is a dreadful oversimplification. Being fair and balanced by offering up reasonable alternative viewpoints is one thing; being fair and balanced simply by offering up the contrary viewpoint (à la Fox News) is another. Counterpoints have to have some link to reasonability in order to themselves be reasonable.

"Victim-blaming is sometimes okay", for example, would not be helpful or constructive. It would be idiotic. I called out someone on that thread for blaming the victim and my comment was deleted, presumably for being a derail. Fair enough.

Similarly, condoning theft of an automobile is not helpful or constructive. It is idiotic. In no sane world is this a measured response to brattiness. Perhaps in some strange cases, grand theft auto is a measured response to injustice and/or a means to a greater end. But this isn't one of those cases, and no one gave an argument that would support that conclusion.

We should be supporting measured, responsible, and legal decisions rather than disproportionate, bratty, and illegal ones, even when they're a response to someone else's perceived brattiness. There is simply no merit to "different types of answers" if they fall in the latter category.
posted by matlock expressway at 8:03 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ugh, this thread. Maybe people are getting hung up on the word abuse and all the evocative and provocative connotations it carries...maybe it'd be easier for some to calm down with the jumping all over the terminology if we just agreed there are many ways of mistreating a young person you call family and eating away at their sense of self esteem or emotional balance over petty points or whatever and leave it at that. Thanks Phobwankenobi and rtha and St. Alia for your input on this; for what it's worth I completely agree with you. And to the OP, hang in there...it gets better, after lots of hard work figuring out this isn't normal for everybody and it may leave you feeling overwhelmed and ill prepared to feel self confident enough to get out. You'll get there. It's just hard, and painful.
posted by ifjuly at 8:05 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is posting stuff from her history to support the abuse narrative also a bullshit thing?

Since I was the first one who mentioned it, I'll say that I mentioned it because so many people here seemed to be assuming that her situation was indistinguishable from any other 20-something's. And that's clearly not the case. Whether it fits an "abuse narrative" or not.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:07 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


my mother's name is on the title

That would have been useful information. It's not "your" car, as you claimed in the original question. Take the bus back to college and buy your own.
posted by spaltavian at 8:13 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


*applauds spaltavian ironically*
posted by angrycat at 8:17 AM on June 14, 2011


Similarly, condoning theft of an automobile is not helpful or constructive. It is idiotic.

It's not her car.
posted by amro at 8:21 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


It's not her car.

That was just an example. My other points still stand. (Or, rather, my other points still stand. Grr.)
posted by matlock expressway at 8:27 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Plus, people didn't know that it wasn't her car at the time they were supporting taking the keys. Her original post indicated that it was hers. This wasn't denied until much later.
posted by matlock expressway at 8:28 AM on June 14, 2011


So it's okay that she was deceptive about the car being hers?
posted by amro at 8:32 AM on June 14, 2011


digging nuggety details of shame and parading them for all to see

Thanks for explaining what you see as the distinction, but assuming you are, at least in part, referring to "don't forget that her parents found her at 4 am passed out drunk" as a nuggety detail of shame, I think you and I are seeing different points to that comment. To me the point is "we don't actually know what is happening" not that "nikayla_luv is a bad person".

I'm not sure who you're worrying about harming here.

I'm not worried about harming the parents, if that is what you mean (as much as you'd like to paint me as taking the side of an "abuser"). I simply don't think we should suddenly close the thread because of "history digging" when it becomes inconvenient to those affecting an indignant stance.
posted by Dano St at 8:32 AM on June 14, 2011


If you can't be bothered to listen and insist on seeing this situation as chance to oppose your vision of the world on a situation you not only don't understand but have no interest in understanding, then perhaps you should just be quiet.

If you think that everyone has to walk away with the same impression of reading a really scant posting history, you should DEFinitely be quiet.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:34 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


*applauds spaltavian ironically*

Did you have a point?
posted by spaltavian at 8:35 AM on June 14, 2011


yup. ironic is a tricky word to define, so i'll just forward you to websters for it.
posted by angrycat at 8:36 AM on June 14, 2011


Thank you Dano St, you are correct about the point I was trying to make.
posted by amro at 8:37 AM on June 14, 2011


So it's okay that she was deceptive about the car being hers?

Why are you assuming she was trying to be deceptive? I had no idea how car titles worked at that age. Hell, at 18, my husband signed over power of attorney to all his bank accounts to his mother "so she could take care of his money and he wouldn't have to worry" (she did so by buying loads of overpriced artwork, natch). Seems to me that she doesn't know how these things work, which is normal, if you're barely an adult and no one ever taught you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:37 AM on June 14, 2011 [3 favorites]


Dano St, do you really think that posting that comment again, with relevant user-name data, is a kind or otherwise good thing to do?
posted by angrycat at 8:37 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


So it's okay that she was deceptive about the car being hers?

Of course not. But that has nothing whatsoever to do with my point.

People supported taking her keys even when the only information offered indicated that the car was hers.

As it turned out, the car wasn't hers. So taking the keys wasn't in fact theft. But this latter fact wasn't revealed until much later, i.e., after all the initial comments were made.
posted by matlock expressway at 8:40 AM on June 14, 2011


If someone calls something "digging nuggety details of shame and parading them for all to see", it is a kind and otherwise good to point out that the person who made that comment was not doing anything of the sort.
posted by 23skidoo at 8:41 AM on June 14, 2011


No, angrycat, I do not think it was "kind". It was neutral. Reposting it makes no difference on any sort of kindness/meanness scale. I do think it was "otherwise good" but only in the sense that I was making a good faith contribution of my perspective to the community.
posted by Dano St at 8:43 AM on June 14, 2011


it does make it more accessible via a third-party's internet search. thus it's not neutral.
posted by angrycat at 8:46 AM on June 14, 2011


I'm sorry if it came across as if I was being deceptive, but I assumed that if the car was given to me as a gift [ and the fact that I am allowed to transfer the title to my name at any time], then it is my car. My parents volunteered to help me with the expenses (and they used it from time to time), but it was always known to all parties that the early graduation gift belongs to me. When I wrote my original post, I was in a state of shock and anger, so I didn't reveal all of the facts. It would have definitely been helpful to state all of the facts, but I primarily just wanted to know exactly how to deal with the next 9 days, not take my car with me to school.
posted by nikayla_luv at 8:48 AM on June 14, 2011


People supported taking her keys even when the only information offered indicated that the car was hers. As it turned out, the car wasn't hers. So taking the keys wasn't in fact theft. But this latter fact wasn't revealed until much later, i.e., after all the initial comments were made.

There wasn't any information which indicated that the car was hers, except for the phrase "my car." If I say "I am working at my desk," does that imply that I own the desk? It shouldn't - it implies that I use the desk.

Some people assumed one thing, others assumed the other. Some people got heavily criticized for their assumption. Other people turned out to be wrong.

Again, I think this goes to show that we're all working from a very limited and one-sided presentation of facts, and that we should give other responders the benefit of the doubt.
posted by muddgirl at 8:48 AM on June 14, 2011


So it's okay that she was deceptive about the car being hers?

Wow, amro, I appreciate your contributions b/c you are reasonable but that was an unkind thing to say. The OP stated that a cousin gave her the car but for insurance and expense purposes the title is in the mothers name. I think the OP was acting in good faith by describing the car as her own.
posted by mlis at 8:50 AM on June 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you are allowed to legally transfer the title into your name without needing a signature from your mother to approve it, this might be a good idea and a good time. That way it is legally yours and you can get your own insurance on it and replacement keys from the dealership. Or sell it, and use the funds to get a moped or something that might give you a cheaper form of independent mobility if you can't afford your own insurance.
posted by talitha_kumi at 8:55 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I just don't think we can know that, MLIS. Okay, maybe she wasn't being deceptive. But maybe she was. Sometimes when people tell a story and they want to appear sympathetic, or they want to look good in the telling, or for many other reasons, they leave out or embellish facts. I shouldn't jump to the conclusion that she was being deceptive. But I can't foreclose on the possibility that she wasn't, either. As many have said, we don't know everything here.
posted by amro at 8:56 AM on June 14, 2011


There wasn't any information which indicated that the car was hers, except for the phrase "my car." If I say "I am working at my desk," does that imply that I own the desk? It shouldn't - it implies that I use the desk.

(The actual quotation was: "My mother then overreacted and took my own car keys away from me (the car was a gift from my cousin)."

If you own the keys to a desk and that desk was given to you by your cousin, I think I can reasonably conclude that the desk belongs to you. Maybe this is reading too charitably into that particular comment. But I doubt it.
posted by matlock expressway at 8:58 AM on June 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


luckily, amro, you're on the case to tell us what's what!
posted by angrycat at 8:58 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


it does make it more accessible via a third-party's internet search.

Wow, so since amro's comment didn't mention nikayla_luv's name but my one comment "linked" her metafilter handle with the drunken bit (which, let's not forget, nikayla_luv posted originally to the intertubes), now the google machine will return her name higher in searches for "passed out"? And I made that link with the intention of harming nikayla_luv?

I don't think search engines actually work that way. But it's neat to think of what an evil genius you must have me pegged to be.
posted by Dano St at 9:00 AM on June 14, 2011


I think I can reasonably conclude that the desk belongs to you,

Again, you made an assumption based on your experiences. Others made a different assumption based on their experience (for example, in my family it is very common for the title to be in the parent's name, while the car is casually considered to be "owned" by one of the kids. But when it comes to legalities, the car is owned and controlled by the parent, making it perfectly legal to take away car keys for whatever reason).
posted by muddgirl at 9:02 AM on June 14, 2011


@talitha_kumi: That is a good idea. I just got comfortable with the situation (especially since I rarely use the car anyway), so I never sought to transfer the title to my name. I used the phrase "MY car" at the beginning of the post to emphasize the last straw of a series of events that has taken place over the years. I mean, I can see how this is a form of deception and I do apologize to the commenters who read much into that part of the post. But I have received a breadth of suggestions, and I will no better than to place myself in this kind of situation again.
posted by nikayla_luv at 9:03 AM on June 14, 2011


The fact about the title didn't come up until much later.
posted by matlock expressway at 9:03 AM on June 14, 2011


*know, i meant.
posted by nikayla_luv at 9:04 AM on June 14, 2011


But based on my experiences I could assume that such was the case.
posted by muddgirl at 9:04 AM on June 14, 2011


luckily, amro, you're on the case to tell us what's what!

Huh...?
posted by amro at 9:06 AM on June 14, 2011


evil genius, uh no, I wasn't going there
posted by angrycat at 9:06 AM on June 14, 2011


nikayla_luv, please stop apologizing. You've done nothing wrong here. Promise you.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2011 [33 favorites]


If you own the keys to a desk and that desk was given to you by your cousin, I think I can reasonably conclude that the desk belongs to you. Maybe this is reading too charitably into that particular comment. But I doubt it.

and yet, in spite of being a reasonable assumption, it was wrong. And when the OP clarified that "she had the title", people assumed that meant the car was hers, and that was wrong. Neith one of these assumptions were unreasonable, but neither was correct, as the OP has now just said that the car's title is in her mother's name.

The point is, we don't have all the facts, and never will have all the facts, and even if we did we would still have different opinions about what nikayla_luv should do in this case. People here on either end of the spectrum are digging in the posting history and being rude to each other while trying to make a greater claim for their own opinion. It's an ugly thread, and it is stupid that people whose points of views are valid have descended to insults in an effort to make people they disagree with look bad.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:07 AM on June 14, 2011 [6 favorites]


I kind of feel like an ongoing fisking of the asker's question here really isn't necessary—the thread is there for clarifications from the asker (by mod-proxy or not) and helpful answers where available from everybody else—so if nobody has any other pressing business here my inclination is to close this up in a bit.

This is seeming to me mostly an argument for its own sake with a third party as the unwitting locus and that's not such a great thing without a good reason for it that as far as I can tell is pretty much absent.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:08 AM on June 14, 2011 [15 favorites]


I will attempt to offer a conclusion to this thread (although I'm not sure if I can top some of the earlier posts):

I am not perfect, I'm just a sheltered young adult. I could have very well avoided this situation that took place on Sunday and, consequently, still had a car to travel to the campus library (which is 30 minutes away). That day, my siblings and I woke up and my mom began telling us that the house was dirty. Without question, I cleaned, did laundry, took the dogs out, and even made lunch for the family. I was exhausted and, yes, the re-runs were a breath of fresh air. I usually give in to my parents' demands, but this time, I didn't see a reason to take my sister to the mall when my parents could have (and they eventually did). I am starting to assert my independence and I no longer want my younger siblings to rely on me as a mother figure.

In the context of this discussion, the car is pointless. It belongs to me, but as stated in this thread, it really doesn't (legally). If I want a vehicle to get around town in, I need to save my money and purchase a new one. It would avoid more drama, and keep an actual fight from breaking out.

When I posted my original thread, I was in the library waiting for my older sister to pick me up. She explained that if she was going to take me to the library every day, it would be $10 each way. Several members of the family told me that I was being a selfish brat, and that I needed to know my place. So I turned to metafilter, to get a second opinion (and boy, did I get one lol).

I do thank everyone wholeheartedly for taking the time to hear my story, and even giving me the benefit of the doubt. I have seen plenty of threads derail before, and I totally understand. You guys want honesty and all of the facts laid out. After all, you're taking the time to help me. From now on, I will never rush to post or respond to any discussion in anger. I have combed through all of the posts now, and I just want to say thanks again! I appreciate it :]
posted by nikayla_luv at 9:43 AM on June 14, 2011 [41 favorites]


Thanks, nikayla_luv. Good luck with the situation; closing this up now.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:05 AM on June 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


« Older Hi, I'm from MetaFilter and I could overthink a...   |   2nd Annual Moderator's Day Newer »

This thread is closed to new comments.